Happy Lunar New Year! Every 12 years, the Year of the Dragon brings us charismatic and self-assured people born under this zodiac sign. In celebration, we rounded up seven stars – millennial artists born in 1988 and Gen Z musicians born in 2000 – who are igniting stages with their infectious energy and boundless talent. Join EnVi as we spotlight the vibrant spirit of the Dragon through the lens of artistic expression.
To start, it’s essential to introduce the K-pop sensation HAECHAN of NCT. Born on June 6, 2000, HAECHAN embodies the characteristics of a dragon in every sense. As the youngest of subunit NCT 127, HAECHAN made his debut at the tender age of 16 years old in 2016. Whether lending his mesmerizing vocal tones to NCT’s bridges or embellishing choruses with his breathtaking high notes, HAECHAN consistently showcases his vocal ability. He also has set himself apart as a remarkably skilled dancer in ballet, sports dance, jazz, and contemporary styles.
Beyond his musical talents, HAECHAN is celebrated for his infectious charisma and humor, earning him the reputation of a mood maker. His charming nature was on full display when he serenaded fellow NCT members WINWIN and YUTA on their birthday, hitting impressive high notes and adding his signature humor by playing with the microphone. He further revealed his affable nature by hosting his own viewable radio show, “37.5MHz HAECHAN Radio,” on NCT’s YouTube Channel.
Dragon-born sensation MAX CHANGMIN was instrumental in shaping the K-pop industry’s early landscape and spreading K-pop worldwide. As the youngest member of boy group TVXQ!, he burst onto the scene at just 15 years old in December 2003 with the soothing love song “Hug.” The versatile singer-songwriter will be celebrating his 36th birthday next week on February 18.
Fluent in both Korean and Japanese, the musical maverick took the plunge into solo stardom, wowing audiences with his Japanese debut album Close to You in 2015. He later made a sweet splash in the Korean music scene with his delectable solo mini-album Chocolate in April 2020. But beyond his musical accomplishments, Changmin’s also winning hearts as a devoted husband and loving dad!
American rapper Ice Spice, or “New York’s Princess,” was born on January 1, 2000, marking the dawn of a new millennium. Her relaxed and comedic rapping style in her 2021 debut, “Bully Freestyle, captivated audiences. Since then, Ice Spice has propelled herself into stardom with viral sensations such as “No Clarity” and “Munch (Feelin’ U).” Building on her success, Ice Spice released her first EP, Like..?, in 2023 featuring her already viral singles and new fan favorites.
Adding onto her solo work, Ice Spice has collaborated with other artists, including with PinkPantheress for “Boy’s A Liar Pt. 2” and Taylor Swift for the “Karma” remix. She also participated in the soundtrack for Barbie (2023) with “Barbie World” alongside Nicki Minaj and Aqua. With her roots in the Bronx and her distinct approach to rap, Ice Spice continues to make her mark as a rising star in the music world.
Ok Taecyeon, the dynamic talent born on December 27, 1988, embodies the spirit of the dragon with his fiery passion for entertainment. Stepping into the limelight at just 20 years old, he rocked the K-pop world as the main rapper of 2PM with the electrifying debut track “10 Out of 10.” Not one to be confined to a single stage, Taecyeon made waves in acting with his debut in the hit Korean drama Cinderella’s Stepsister in 2010. Since then, he’s played standout performances in Vincenzo (2021) and Heartbeat (2023).
But Taecyeon isn’t just an entertainer. Taecyeon has proved to be a true global sensation with linguistic skills that span Korean, English, and Japanese. He’s also a multi hyphenate powerhouse, donning hats as a rapper, singer-songwriter, actor, and even an entrepreneur. As the CEO of OkCat, Taecyeon introduced a quirky green-colored cat character that was used as emoticons on KakaoTalk. He then released a line of merch products, including plushies of the cat. Whether he’s spitting fire into the mic or charming audiences on the screen, Taecyeon’s dragon spirit ensures he’s always at the forefront of entertainment innovation.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty, the sensational force simply known as Rihanna, manifests the vivacious spirit of the dragon in the entertainment realm. From her explosive debut with hits such as “Pon de Replay” to her chart-topping anthems “Umbrella,” “Diamonds,” and “We Found Love,” Rihanna has solidified her status as a pop and R&B icon. The Barbadian singer-songwriter’s skills also extend beyond the microphone. As the mastermind behind the inclusive product lines of Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin, Rihanna is redefining beauty standards and empowering fans worldwide.
Not content with conquering just the music and beauty industries, Rihanna has moved onto the silver screen with standout roles in Home (2015) and Ocean’s 8 (2018). Furthermore, let’s not forget about her record-breaking performance at Super Bowl LVII, which was watched by 121 million viewers. With nine Grammy wins and a trailblazing career, Rihanna continues to leave an indelible mark on the entertainment industry as one of the most influential figures of her generation.
From her roots as a music prodigy to her rocketing rise as a blockbuster star, Halle Bailey has captivated audiences with her mesmerizing musical skill and infectious energy. As one half of the duo Chloe x Halle alongside her sister, Halle has gained acclaim for soulful harmonies and mesmerizing pop/R&B performances. They’ve released joint albums such as The Kids Are Alright in 2018 and The Ungodly Hour in 2020 that showcase their musical expertise. Halle also made her solo debut in 2023 with “Angel,” which was Grammy-nominated for best R&B song.
Having been signed with Beyoncé’s music label Parkwood Entertainment since 2015, Chloe x Halle joined Queen Bey on tour as the opening act for the European leg of the “Formation” tour in 2016. In addition, Halle has proven herself a formidable force in the acting world as well with her remarkable performances in Grown-ish (2018), The Color Purple (2023), and The Little Mermaid (2023).
In the world of K-hip-hop, there’s one female rapper that shines particularly bright: Jessi. Born in New York and representing the Korean American community, Jessi has cemented her status as a dragon-born icon with a personality as fierce as her talent. She’s been making her mark in South Korea since the age of 15 when she debuted with the pop song “Get Up.” Jessi quickly became known for her music that has fans buzzing, including hits like “NUNU NANA,” “Gum,” and “Cold Blooded.”
Jessi’s humor and quick wit have made her a viral sensation. She expanded her reach as the host of YouTube comedy web talk show Showterview. She also interviewed fellow K-pop stars, including boy group TXT and soloist Eric Nam (another dragon-born singer), and even interviewed Hollywood actress Emma Stone. With her magnetic presence, Jessi continues to charm audiences and redefine the boundaries of success in the entertainment world.
The Dragon’s Legacy
From HAECHAN’s magnetic charisma and CHANGMIN’s powerhouse vocals to Jessi’s fiery attitude and Halle Bailey’s soulful voice , the legacy of dragon-born talent knows no bounds. Join us as we eagerly look forward to the next cycle of the zodiac, where new stars will emerge, shining brightly in their own unique way.
Want to read more about the Lunar New Year? Check out our roundup of 6 songs to celebrate the holiday here!